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Bistec Ranchero


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Ok so the other night I tired making Bistec Ranchero for the first time and while it turned out pretty well I have a number of questions on my mind. The recipe I had called for the following (in the order given) to be layered in a heavy, cold skillet and slow cooked over medium heat (lid on).

2 T corn oil

Thinly sliced white onions

minced garlic

thinly sliced potatoes

thinly sliced tomatoes and finely chopped cilantro

breakfast steaks (coated in a mixture of salt and pepper)

Additionally I subsituted a more tender cut of beef for the breakfast steaks (described as round steaks thinly sliced) as I have been having trouble finding round steaks from a decent butcher in montreal.

After the heat had built up some everything started releasing a whole lot of liquid and at the heat I have it reached a pretty vigorous simmer. The meat seemed to cook on top via steam but quickly became overcooked before the potatoes were tender and before the dish seemed ready (there was still quite a bit of liquid in the pan and it still tasted somewhat bland). I proceeded to take the meat off and cook the rest of it till the potatoes were tender and until quite a bit of the liquid had cooked off, aside from the meat it was quite tasty...

Should I have perhaps had the heat lower and cooked it longer? I suspect the heat was too high and the more tender meat cooked too quickly. I was curious about the use of breakfast steaks because I do not know how they are normally cut, but the author suggested serving with corn tortillas and it seems a bit akward to be eating whole steaks with corn tortillas...

Does this sound like a good/normal way to cook Bistec Ranchero?

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Ok so the other night I tired making Bistec Ranchero for the first time and while it turned out pretty well I have a number of questions on my mind. The recipe I had called for the  following (in the order given) to be layered in a heavy, cold skillet and slow cooked over medium heat (lid on).

2 T corn oil

Thinly sliced white onions

minced garlic

thinly sliced potatoes

thinly sliced tomatoes and finely chopped cilantro

breakfast steaks (coated in a mixture of salt and pepper)

Additionally I subsituted a more tender cut of beef for the breakfast steaks (described as round steaks thinly sliced) as I have been having trouble finding round steaks from a decent butcher in montreal.

After the heat had built up some everything started releasing a whole lot of liquid and at the heat I have it reached a pretty vigorous simmer. The meat seemed to cook on top via steam but quickly became overcooked before the potatoes were tender and before the dish seemed ready (there was still quite a bit of liquid in the pan and it still tasted somewhat bland). I proceeded to take the meat off and cook the rest of it till the potatoes were tender and until quite a bit of the liquid had cooked off, aside from the meat it was quite tasty...

Should I have perhaps had the heat lower and cooked it longer? I suspect the heat was too high and the more tender meat cooked too quickly. I was curious about the use of breakfast steaks because I do not know how they are normally cut, but the author suggested serving with corn tortillas and it seems a bit akward to be eating whole steaks with corn tortillas...

Does this sound like a good/normal way to cook Bistec Ranchero?

No.

I've lived in Mexico for more than 25 years and I've never heard of, seen, or eaten Bistec Ranchero prepared with either whole steaks or potatoes.

Here's another recipe to try:

Bistec Ranchero

1 lb tender beef

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium white onions, diced

2 (or more) chiles serrano, minced

sea salt to taste

Oil for frying

Cut the beef into small strips, about 1/2" wide by 2" long. Sauté the onions, chiles, and garlic. Add the meat and allow to brown slightly. Add the tomatoes and sauté until the tomatoes begin to give up their juices. Cover and allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Serve with rice, beans, and corn tortillas.

By the way, 'ranchero' simply means country-style.

Edited by esperanza (log)

What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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Esperanza,

Thanks a lot for replying and including a recipe, I wil be sure to try it soon and report back.

As to the recipe I tried, I'm not sure that it actually uses whole steaks, it may have just been a mistinterpretation on my part or poorly written on the author's part. The book I got it from has been quite good in my experience, and the author indicates he was given the recipe by a mexican friend. So, even if you have never seen it with potatoes I don't feel that rules it out as inauthentic. At any rate I just wanted an opinion, you gave me yours, and I appreciate it.

Additionally, I was aware that ranchero meant "ranch-style" but was under the impression that this was a classic dish of sorts, rather than just "ranch style steak". Is this incorrect?

gabe

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In the years living in Mexico and visiting small towns and ranches in Northern Mexico we would have something call bistec con salsa ranchero. This was thin cut steaks, usually frozen primal cuts of range fed old cows or old bulls sent to slaughter. The bistecs were cut on a band saw still frozen. Marinated in beer and cooked to well done on a grill over an open fire. Served with salsa Ranchero which is cooked tomato, onion chile peppers, usually sarranos and salt. With corn tortillas heated on the same grill, guacamole and cold beer. As I remember, the bistecs were tough, stringy and oh so tasty. Oh, don't forget the fijoles rancheros -- another story.

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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May I suggest that any Diana Kennedy cookbook (shes published at least a dozen and was Rick Baylesses mentor) will give you true Mexican receipes more than any one else. As to steaks, here in Mexico the way to prepare steaks is preferably grilled over an open fire and then the sauces served on the side. A good cut of meat should NEVER be overcooked. If you are looking to make a "guisado" or stew like dish then go for stew meat, slow cooked, which is what your receipe sounds like.

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hello folks

bruce here from bruces back alley bistro in puerto vallarta

in my opinion the best beef to use for this dish is flank steak

the dish in discussion originates from veracruz

however the beef they use is from sonora

feel free to ask me any question regarding mexican food or what we have available to us here in mexico

bruce

www.brucesbackalleybistro.com

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Welcome Bruce, hope you like it here. I know I do.

Flank steak does sound like it would work well, I will just have to find out what cut this is in french again. You seem knowledgeable on this particular dish, would you be willing to offer a bit more information? Perhaps common ways to prepare it or what ingredients it might include, or perhaps how you like to prepare it?

I am cooking 100% mexican right now and very much enjoying it, but I feel my scope is a bit limited and always appreciate input.

Ruth, I am planning on getting a Kennedy book, just haven't gotten around to it. I agree that overcooked meat is a terrible thing, but I might add it was never my intention to overcook it, simply a lack of skill and unfamiliarity with the dish. I might add though, that even if I did have a Kennedy book I would probably still post here. I really enjoy the dynamic aspect of discussion, and prefer to get my info from as many different sources as possible, so as to get a more complete picture.

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So I tried Esperanza's recipe and just finished eating not but two minutes ago, it was quite tasty. I was a bit worried about the meat overcooking so I removed it for most of the steaming period and added it back towards the end. Not sure how it's supposed to turn out but mine ended up as strips of beef in a thick, rich, dark red sauce with lots of flavor. I ate it with some freshly made corn tortillas, salsa verde, hot sauce, and chopped cilantro. An excellent and simple meal.

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Welcome Bruce, hope you like it here. I know I do.

Flank steak does sound like it would work well, I will just have to find out what cut this is in french again. You seem knowledgeable on this particular dish, would you be willing to offer a bit more information? Perhaps common ways to prepare it or what ingredients it might include, or perhaps how you like to prepare it?

I am cooking 100% mexican right now and very much enjoying it, but I feel my scope is a bit limited and always appreciate input.

Ruth, I am planning on getting a Kennedy book, just haven't gotten around to it. I agree that overcooked meat is a terrible thing, but I might add it was never my intention to overcook it, simply a lack of skill and unfamiliarity with the dish. I might add though, that even if I did have a Kennedy book I would probably still post here. I really enjoy the dynamic aspect of discussion, and prefer to get my info from as many different sources as possible, so as to get a more complete picture.

hi gabe --

i think its called <<bifteck de flanc>> or <<une bavette de flanchet>>, the second being more correct/proper in our parts of town. i think it's the first one they use though :wink: there may be some other jouale-type word also (which i don't know).

Edited by ohev'ochel (log)
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